In a country that boasts 400 million vegetarians, a pure vegetarian cloud kitchen delivering a host of multi-cuisine delicacies is bound to do well. Mumbai-based Veg Sutra, founded by Santosh Papade in October 2011, has proved this by its growth and success at serving pure vegetarian meals at pocket-friendly prices.
“Veg Sutra distinguishes itself by being the only live cloud kitchen. Unlike other cloud kitchens that customers do not have access to, we are quite transparent about our practices. We follow high standards of hygiene and want customers to be familiar with what is happening behind the scenes. The kitchens are covered with a translucent glass door, so any customer who passes by can peek into the kitchen and witness the process of cooking and preparation themselves,” shares the founder.
Veg Sutra currently has six outlets across Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane. Each outlet houses five different brands which are Veg Sutra, Fusion Factory, Meal Bowl, Modern Khichdi and The Waffle Age. Having seen quick growth and acceptance of all their food brands, they aim to increase this number to 10 brands soon. Plans are also in place to launch six new outlets, with four of them being in Pune and two in Mumbai.
When asked about the USP of brand Veg Sutra, Papade says, “Our brand specializes in serving our patrons authentic North Indian cuisine. What sets us apart from others is the consistency in the flavour of each one of our dishes. Every outlet is exactly the same as all others. The secret to managing our operations efficiently is a reduced overhead cost and a 21-day training program that every recruit of the Veg Sutra family has to compulsorily undergo. Further, we are the first of its kind cloud kitchen in the pure vegetarian segment. We specialize in Jain food and are soon going to launch vegan food specialities.”
A Mechanical Engineer with a Bachelors in Industrial Engineering, Papade has also pursued a Business Management course from Welingkars Institute. Though he does not have a culinary educational background, he has been a foodie since childhood and this was the catalyst for his entry into this industry. He always aspired to do something revolutionary in the hospitality industry. “Since childhood, I have always devoured vegetarian meals. I am an ardent lover of vegetarian delights and want to share this love of delicious vegetarian food with the rest of the world. Vegetarian food is usually stigmatized as being boring and flavourless, and I was keen to break this stereotype. Veg Sutra and our other brands deliver innovative vegetarian food that is trendsetting in its own right and is appetizing for one and all – even the non-vegetarians!” he exclaims.
The extensive menu consists of items like Pav Bhaji offered in original, cheese, and masala flavours; Chole Bhature, Tandoori Aloos, Hare Bhare Kebabs, Mushroom Cheese Tikka and Paneer Achari Tikkas among other appetisers. For the Indian main course, one can choose from Delhi style Rajma Masala, Punjabi Chole Masala, Dum Aloo Punjabi, Mix Veg Lajawab, Vegetable Kolhapuri, Paneer Amritsari, and Mushroom Tikka Masala among others. A large selection of Dals like the Dal Fry and Dumdaar Dal Makhani; rice-based treats like Jeera Rice, Vegetable Pulao with Boondi Raita, Palak Khichdi and Shahi Subz Biryani with Boondi Raita; and Indian breads like Tawa Chapati, Triangle Paratha, and Aloo Parathas, round up the Indian menu.
Asian delights include a selection of soups like Manchow Soup; starters like Veg Manchurian Dry and Paneer Crispy; rice dishes like Vegetable Fried Rice, Mushroom Schezwan Fried Rice and Veg Manchurian Fried Rice; as well as noodle dishes like Veg Hakka Noodles and Mushroom Schezwan Noodles.
One can also try their interesting Indian and Chinese Wraps, such as the Tandoori Aloo Tikka Wrap and Schezwan Noodle Wrap respectively. These are complemented by combo meals like the Veg Hakka Noodles Combo Meal and the Dal Tadka Jeera Rice Combo Meal. Matka Dum Biryanis in three distinctive flavours are also available and for dessert, one can pick from Gulab Jamuns, Moong Dal Halwa, Phirni and Choco Lava Cake.
“Facts and figures state that our Chole Bhature, Biryani, Sandwich, Paneer Tikka Masala, Paneer Kadai, Moong Dal ka Halwa and Gulab Jamuns are the most-loved dishes. They certainly appeal to many taste buds,” Papade says with pride.
The pandemic had been tough on them, especially the first lockdown in March 2020 which impacted their business but they managed to power through. Where earlier they delivered food themselves, they tied up with food aggregator platforms after the pandemic. They also diversified from running just Veg Sutra as a brand to operating five different brands from every outlet, which ultimately helped them reach different target groups. “Veg Sutra will soon be available pan-India. We are working towards serving every Indian household. Also, we have set foot in the FMCG industry. We will be exporting ready-to-cook food items to countries in North America and Europe,” explains the founder.
The success of the brand and its popularity is evident from the fact that Veg Sutra received a funding of Rs five crore from venture capitalists, and won the Pioneers of 2021 award from the Economic Times. In 2019, they were clocking revenues of Rs 3 Crore from all their outlets and this year have reached Rs 12 Crore as their popularity surged.
Papade says, “We have a standardized process that is followed at our centralized kitchen and replicated elsewhere. We also layout all the recipes on a chart in every kitchen. This model makes it easy to maintain uniformity across every kitchen. Not to mention, franchise owners can replicate the same and yield profits.”
This vegetarian food cloud kitchen also prides itself on being eco-friendly. The food is packed in handy paper bags and no plastic waste is generated. Papade highlights, “We want to make quality, hygienic and delicious food accessible to every Indian household. Hence, our food doesn’t contain any added preservatives or artificial colours. Our meals are cost-effective and anyone can relish them without shelling out a fortune.”
Veg Sutra plans to strengthen its reach in Maharashtra by starting 5 new outlets in Pune. It will also inaugurate its presence in Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Bangalore by 2022, with the aim of opening 60 more outlets in total across India.
The writer pens lifestyle articles for various publications and her blog www.nooranandchawla.com. She can be reached on email@example.com.